Inspired by a scene in the 1987 film Fatal Attraction where a scorned woman (played by Glenn Close), seeking revenge on her ex-lover (played by Michael Douglas), places his beloved family pet in a pot of boiling water when he is away from the house.
Its first known appearance in print was on December 6, 1990, when the Dallas Morning News reported on a Ladies' Home Journal interview with Glenn Close and introduced it by referring to her erstwhile character as a "bunny-boiler." The phrase appeared in print with increasing frequency beginning in 1994.
- (derogatory) An obsessive and dangerous former lover who stalks the person who spurned them.
- An excessively obsessive partner or significant other, especially one who reacts in an extreme way to the ending of a relationship.